In this Courtship letter, Ethel mentions that her Pa will buy whatever he needs from Eatons. That's the T. Eaton Co. Ltd - a giant retail and mail order family- owned business. Eaton's had everything a person and their house and barn needed - including the house itself. Eaton's houses bought by mail order and shipped in kit form are still standing strong across the prairies 100 years after assembly.
Like this one to the right:
Henry Rockel ordered this house from the T. Eaton Co. Ltd. It was shipped on the train from Winnipeg to Lanigan. The package, including the house and building materials, was $1,509.10. A return of 20 cents a sack for unused cement was allowed.
Dated: May 21, 1911
Addressed to: Mr. N. C. Draper... My Dear Noah, Grand Coulee, Sask.
Mailed from: Belhaven, P.O.
Profession: Farmer's Daughter
Writing instrument: Fine point pen, black ink
Written on: Light bluey/gray, slightly thick, textured, linen-like paper, 9 inches x 6 inches, folded in half. The paper is folded in half with the first page on the front and last on the back, but inside, she's written on the right side first, and then the left.
- Pa - *James Henry Nelson
- Ma - *Ida Amelia Glover
- Noah's mother - *Sarah Sophia Deverell
- Herb Nelson's - Ethel's cousin Herb and his wife, Francis Jane Smith & 2 kids
- *Veda - 16 yr old daughter of Noah's sister, Eva & Joseph Perrault who live nearby
- *Sadie Nelson - Ethel's 16 yr old sister (see photos last post)
- *Christie Nelson - Ethel's 11 yr old sister (see photos last post)
- Uncle John Rogers married *Victoria Maud Nelson, Ida Amelia's sister
- R Glover's - possibly Ida Amelia's family although Family Tree not advanced there yet
- *Elva - Ethel's cousin, Elva Jane and husband, Wm Mitchell
- Sam Cuthbertson's mother
- Jack Hopkins
- Mary Smith - school friend
- Martin Rose's
- Blanche Morton
- Mr. Davidson - Mr. Robert Davidson and his family have been mentioned in other posts (click on the search box to find them). At first, however, I thought he was talking about his daughter being like no other on the fifth, but upon reflection, I believe he's talking about his barn. Haha. By the Fifth, he means the Fifth Concession which was one of the major thoroughfares through North Gwillimbury.
** John Prossers - farmer and Fox Island Lighthouse Keeper (see lighthouse photo below). I'm using John Prosser as the subject of a mini-research genealogy lesson under this week's Genealogy notes.
* Look under the Categories/Labels in the right side column for more posts on this
** see Genealogy Notes below
May 21. 1911.
Mr. N. C. Draper,
My Dear Noah, -
Well I was rather
disapointed last night. I did'nt get
a letter from you. I will be looking for
one to-morrow night.
We are having very
hot weather the last week or so.
The heat Friday & to-day is some
thing fierce. We had a very heavy
thunder storm last night about
Eleven o'clock. It struck R. Glover's
barn & burnt it. Also struck a tree in
Crowder's lane and burnt it.
I guess I would like to be the
first one to have a ride in that
newly painted buggy. We have'nt got
us one yet. Except one Mr Kings
let us have until we could get another.
Pa thinks he shall go to Eatons
to get what things he really has
to have now.
Mr. Sam Cuthbertson's mother is
We hav'nt got our barn started
yet, but Pa has had extra men
on trying to get ready to start as
as soon as possible. He is going
to build a longer barn & not quite
so wide as the old one.
I am not sure but I think Jack
Hopkins will be puting it up.
Mr Davidson has his barn nearly
completed. He says there isnt a girl
on the fifth like his. Suppose Mrs
Davidson will have lots of help now.
There little boy is better now of the
When does your Mother expect to
come East. Will it make any difference
in the time if you come, or not?
Oh Noah! I wish you could come, but I'll
wait and hear what you have to say.
in your next letter. for I ask your
Herb Nelson's are just driving in
and as it is nearly dinner time I guess
I will have to say good Bye for just the
Monday. Well as you say, I am back.
again. I was up to S.S. and home with
Mary Smith for tea yesterday.
Herb was telling us there were
three different barns struck by
lightning and burnt, and Martin
Rose's was struck but they got the fire out.
I think I am keeping you well posted
on the engagements. Blanche Morton
and Milton Hamilton are to be married
Hope you are not manless yet as
you say. especially if you are as busy
as pa seems to be. Uncle John Rogers
was here all last week helping him.
I think I shall go up to night and
post this. and call to see Mr John
Prossers they both are very low.
Hope Veda is successful in
having her hands doctored. and
will be able to go to college. I
suppose she is quite anxious to go.
Sadie is feeling a little discouraged
there school has'nt been graded &
now they have to take up some more
subjects. and she is afraid she wont
pass. I close now with love and
lots of xxx from, Ethel. P.S. I hope I get your letter to-night. Ethel Nelson, Christie has just brought your
letter, also one from Elva.
I have to admit, when I first found the census record showing a John Prosser with the occupation of a Lighthouse Keeper, I sat up and took notice. After all the yeoman/farmers and labourers, it was refreshing to see something different.
Father: Eld. John Prosser born 8 May 1796 in Florida, Montgomery, NY, USA
Mother: Sarah Willoughby born 9 Aug 1803 in Midland, Ontario, Canada
The first record I've found of John Prosser is in this 1851 Canada West census:
Genealogy Tip #1: To find out where your ancestor is located on the image when it first opens, look at the bottom right where I have the red arrow. That is the indication where the name you've searched will be on the page. Then, move the image up or down until you see it. Usually, the transcript (the typed lines at the bottom) will show the line numbers of the image, so #1 on the bottom - Sarah Prosser - will match #1 on the image, which it does.
Genealogy Tip #2: On the 1851 Canada West census, the transcript lines match the image HOWEVER they don't start at #1. That is why in this case, Line #1 - Sarah Prosser, is beneath Line #50 Margaret Keef in the transcript only. (Yes, I took a learning curve figuring that one out.)
Genealogy Tip #3: Subsequent censuses will have a column for 'Head of the Family'. Wherever you see the word, HEAD, that means everyone listed next will belong to that family until you see the next word, HEAD. Generally, the Head is the Father, followed by the mother, eldest child, and so on until the youngest child. Then, a new Head of a family will start.
Other choices for Head could be a Widow, Eldest Adult Child if orphans, Grandparent if custodian of grandchildren, etc. In a multi-generational family, the Head is the person who is the Head of that household, so it could be a matriarchal or patriarchal family. If the son takes over the family farm but the parents are still there, the son will be listed as the Head, and his parents listed beneath the children.
Line 1 - Sarah Prosser and her family lived in a Frame house, 1 storey, 1 family dwelling.
Lines 2-8 are people who live with Sarah.
Line 9 - John Prosser lived in a Frame house, 2 storey, 1 family dwelling.
This 2nd page/image of the 1851 census shows Marital Status:
Line 1: Sarah Prosser was a widow (W)
Lines 2-8: John's siblings were all single (S)
Line 9: John was single (S)
Genealogy Tip #4: The letter following the line number is the Marital Status of the individual.
In the 1851 census, John lived alone in a 2 storey frame home.
In 1853, John married Lucretia Emes, also from North Gwillimbury, as shown on their marriage record:
Genealogy Tip #5: The final column, Marriage County or District, shows HOME DISTRICT. Back when Ontario (Canada West) was first settled, York (now Toronto) and York County, was considered the Home District. Ontario records which simply state Home District will mean York County.
The next time we see John and Lucretia is on the 1861 Canada West census which shows everything on a single page:
The 1861 census shows marital status and dwelling along with ages and religous denominations, etc. However, we now find John and his family living in a 1 storey frame house which means it's smaller than the previous census. Is it an error? Although census records can be wrong, in this case, John has moved away from the family farm as evidenced by the other people on the lines above and below him. He may have sold his farm to a sibling, or someone else, or even is renting it out. All I know is that after marrying, John moved to a farm in the Belhaven area of North Gwillimbury where his land bordered the family farm of Noah Draper (before David Draper moved Noah's family to the North West).
Genealogy Tip #6: The 1861 and subsequent censuses recorded the age of the person. The estimated birth year (red arrow) was then filled in during the transcription process.
For the record, don't assume it's right because it's in the transcript. The 1891 Canada census is notorious for age and date errors, but they can happen anywhere. Census takers didn't always have the best handwriting and transcribers took their best guesses.
But things change in the 1901 census because at the age of 76 (his age, not the census estimate), John's occupation is now listed as Lighthouse Keeper - shown beside the little hand in the centre of this image:
Still skeptical, I searched out the 1911 Canada census and found this:
- James Nelson and family - that's Ethel!
- Crowder's and King's - both families regularly mentioned in Ethel's letters
This confirms that we have the right John Prosser, but where does the lighthouse keeper come in? For that, I turned to the wonderful Our Ontario website with its online newspaper collection. Being the largest town between Belhaven and Toronto, The Newmarket Era printed tidbits of information from the surrounding area. Here's what I found in my search about John Prosser and the Fox Island Lighthouse:
The following news items show us John Prosser working the Fox Island Lighthouse from 1902 - 1910, except for 1909 when his son, Leslie takes over.
I couldn't find any further news items in The Newmarket Era mentioning the
Fox Island Lighthouse.
They will recover. I know, because of this:
John Prosser died in his Belhaven home on April 30th, 1916 at the age of 91 yrs. The immediate cause of death is listed as Sclerosis of Arteries, in part due to 8 months of Senile Decay/Old Age.
Lucretia Emes died on May 9th, 1916, just 9 days later. Her death record is listed next to John's and states that she died, at 81 yrs of age, in Belhaven, after 9 days of Pneumonia.
Both John and Lucretia are buried in Queensville Cemetery, Queensville, Ontario.